The SPHS Sustainability Committee organized the first annual “Sustainability Week” focusing on the themes of ocean conservation, renewable energy, food recovery, and bee awareness.
On the opening day, students and staff learned about the important role bees play in our food system. According to the USDA, approximately one third of all the food Americans eat is directly or indirectly derived from honey bee pollination. In addition to watching the film, Vanishing of the Bees, students heard from teacher Julie Wilson, a backyard beekeeper, the Honey Exchange, and Emma Campbell, a student at SPHS who helped co-found the SPHS Beekeepers Club.
The focus of day two was on ocean conservation where presentations were made by two scientists, Joe Salisbury, a Research Associate Professor of Oceanography at UNH, and Andy Pershing, Chief Scientific Officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland. Both scientists discussed their research on causes and consequences of changes in the Gulf of Maine, including the ways that climate change affect ecosystems. Students also watched A Plastic Ocean, a film which followed scientists as they travel the ocean in search of the devastating impact plastic is having on our planet. From the deepest ocean trenches, to island communities there is not one place our consumer plastic society has not touched.
The final day of “Sustainability Week” was filled with more exciting visitors. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree spoke about the role of food waste and food recovery in our daily lives where according to the USDA, food waste accounts for 30-40 percent of the food supply. She then visited the cafeteria where she saw first hand the role composting played in reducing waste at SPHS. This past year, the SPHS students diverted a monthly average of 1300 gallons of food waste from the landfill. Congresswoman Pingree was also joined by Ryan Parker from the Natural Resources Council of Maine and George Parmenter, Sustainability Manager for Delhaize America/Hannaford.
The highlight of the week for many students was to sit back and enjoy the entertaining animals of Sparks Ark, a private wildlife and relocation center where animals are rehabilitated. During this presentation students were both excited and engaged about the animals that live around us, living proof that we all have a common ground when it comes to preserving a healthy planet and its wildlife.
Many sessions were recorded and are available on our YouTube Channel.